|Wide Spread Marijuana Use is |
Presenting New Legal Issues
Residual Active Cannabis Levels in Blood, Urine, and Oral Fluids Following Heavy Use Remains a Danger to Driving in New York
It used to be thought that THC just wore down over time. A very calculated and even curve, from a high point of THC right after ingestion (smoking, eating) to a lower point hours away. New research in a study of long term cannabis users from Australia has shown residual THC in the body at super high levels days after smoking.
2015 Australian Research Study
Nine of the 21 subjects tested positive for concentrations of THC above 5ng/ml some 24-hours after their last reported use of cannabis, with one subject testing positive above this threshold some 129 hours after being admitted into the study.Several other participants experienced rapid declines in THC/blood levels followed by subsequent spikes in THC concentrations following multiple days of cannabis abstinence.
Residual Active Delta- 9 THC Cannabis Levels High in Blood for Days Following Use
New York is an active Delta-9 THC state meaning if a blood test is taken for a charge of DWAI (driving while impaired by drugs marijuana) it must be shown that you have active Delta-9 in your blood and NOT merely the pot metabolites. We used to believe that Delta-9 only was active for hours following ingestion.
Researchers reported: "While many of the subjects showed expected blood THC profiles, there were several who appeared to have a prolonged redistribution phase lasting a day or more and some who sustained high blood THC concentrations for several days. There were also subjects who showed a 'double hump' pattern with an initial fall in levels followed by a transient rise on the third or fourth day of abstinence."
New Studies of THC Kinetics Reveal Differences in Long Term Users
They concluded: "These results suggest that the toxicokinetics of THC are not as simple as was previously thought. ... This makes interpretation of toxicology results much more difficult than it has been when it was assumed that THC followed a well-defined pattern of elimination kinetics and further suggests that a reliable algorithm for mathematical modeling of THC metabolism in real-world heavy users remains elusive."
Is THC in the Blood, Even Active THC Delta-9 Always Indicative of Recent Use?
These recent studies reveal that the mere presence of even active Delta 9 THC in blood can NOT be a consistent or accurate predictor of recent cannabis use or impairment. Charging someone with a DWAI drugs in New York under this assumption is dangerous and wrong.
All of these findings call into question New York State's DWAI marijuana offense where the mere presence of trace active Delta- 9 THC shows that they are criminally impaired by a drug. Criminal charges need to be taken seriously and new science is teaching us that our long held notions of how drugs work, act, and are eliminated is mistaken. This is especially true because not all users are casual first timers but because in a society where pot is legal and socially acceptable many people will be long term users.